Junta extends control in Burkina Faso for five more years

Burkina Faso’s junta will stay in power for an additional five years after participants in national talks on Saturday proposed extending the transition back to democracy by 60 months from July, as outlined in the text of a newly approved charter.

The military authorities, who seized power in a 2022 coup, had promised to hold elections in July this year to restore civilian rule. However, they also stated that security considerations would take priority, Reuters reported.

According to the new charter signed by military leader Ibrahim Traore, the transition period is set at 60 months starting from July 2.

“The elections marking the end of the transition may be organised before this deadline if the security situation so permits,” it added.

The delay is likely to deepen concerns about democratic backsliding in West and Central Africa, a region that has experienced eight coups over the past four years.

The charter also permits Traore to run for president when elections are eventually held.

The situation in West Africa’s Sahel region has deteriorated significantly, exacerbated by a decade-long conflict with Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State. This violence has intensified since the militaries seized power in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Burkina Faso, in particular, saw a severe escalation of deadly attacks in 2023, with over 8,000 people reportedly killed, according to the U.S.-based crisis-monitoring group ACLED.

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